Twitchers flock to Crossness Nature Reserve, Bexley to spot rare bird

PUBLISHED: 10:20 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 March 2019

Bird watchers at Crossness looking for the penduline tit. Photo; Tim Ballard

Bird watchers at Crossness looking for the penduline tit. Photo; Tim Ballard


Catching a glimpse of a penduline tit is not something most of us do every day, which is why twitchers from around the country are arriving in Bexley.

The penduline tit iIn all its glory. Photo: Magnus AnderssonThe penduline tit iIn all its glory. Photo: Magnus Andersson

The enthusiastic bird watchers have been hearing of such a tit arriving at the Crossness Nature Reserve and are, well, flocking to the marshy scene.

The visitors to the Thames Water-managed site hope to catch a glimpse of the bird, which is especially rare in the UK. And spotting one is even rarer.

Karen Sutton is Thames Water’s biodiversity team manager.

She said: “It’s really extraordinary to see the penduline tit here as they usually winter in central and southern Europe.

The penduline tit. Photo: Magnus AnderssonThe penduline tit. Photo: Magnus Andersson

“This one seems to be a little off course and has wintered in the reed beds at Crossness. People have travelled from far and wide to see it, so we’re hoping it stays for a little while longer, but it will soon be making its way south-east to its breeding grounds.”

The bird has been seen on a number of occasions from viewing screens near the Island Field lagoons.

Wildlife enthusiast and member of the Friends of Crossness Nature Reserve scheme, Magnus Andersson, captured this amazing photograph of the bird. He said: “It’s always exciting to spot rare birds and it’s fantastic to be able to photograph a penduline tit visiting the UK.”

Anyone hoping to spot the tit can pop along to Crossness Nature Reserve which is open seven days a week.

Just for your information, they are generally around 11cm in length and have bills going into a fine point. Their nests tend to dangle like bags, rather than the traditional “bowl” style and they enjoy nectar, seeds and fruits.

Karen said recent visitors have also been treated to views of other impressive birds, including the red kite, common buzzard, marsh harrier, barn owl, bearded tit and stonechat.

As part of its record £11.7billion business plan for 2020-25, Thames Water has dedicated £1.1billion to protect and enhance the environment, which includes a commitment to increase biodiversity at 253 sites by five per cent.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bexley Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Bexley Times